On the eve of the election of a new so-called “Black Pope”, Jesuits in London have warned against the demonisation of Muslims.
In an online journal launched this evening by the British arm of the Society of Jesus, a leading Jesuit scholar says: “Let us not be misled into thinking either that Muslim-Christian conflict is the world’s greatest conflict, or even that war is the most serious threat to the human future.”
Father Dan Madigan SJ, founder of the Institute for the Study of Religions at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome and member of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims, says history shows that Islam is by no means the greatest threat to mankind.
Writing for www.thinkingfaith.org, Father Madigan says: “The greatest shame of the last century was the killing of millions of Jews by Christians conditioned by their own long tradition of anti-Semitism and seduced by a virulently nationalist and racist new ideology.
“The last 15 years in Africa have seen millions of Christians slaughtered in horrendous civil wars by their fellow believers. A Catholic missionary is dozens of times more likely to be killed in largely Catholic Latin America than anywhere in the Muslim world.”
Jesuits meeting in Rome are tomorrow expected to elect a new Superior General to lead the 19,000 members worldwide and to succeed Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, 79, from Holland.
Father Madigan’s warning came as the lesbian Muslim author Irshad Manji prepared to fly into London tomorrow to launch her new film, Faith Without Fear.
Ms Manji, Senior Fellow with the European Foundation for Democracy, based in Brussels, said she had received dozens of death threats since she began promoting her gospel of “ijtihad” or Muslim reform. Speaking to The Times, she continued: “These days I am getting more threats from Europe than I am from the Islamic world. This goes to show the degree to which Islamic radicalisation is permitted, particularly in western Europe.”